Fall 2023 - EDUC 816 G031

Developing Educational Programs and Practices for Diverse Educational Settings (5)

Class Number: 4194

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Location: TBA



Investigates theories and issues associated with developing educational programs and practices in various educational contexts. Addresses the development of new programs and their implementation in schools and other educational settings.


This course is restricted to students in a Community MEd cohort program

Meeting Dates:  August 5th-12th, 2023

Meeting Times: Please note: this is still in the tentative phase as we build out the components of the program both on the river and Dawson (do not quote us on this quite yet but we thought that getting a frame to you all would help).

Gather in Whitehorse on August 5th with an official start time of 2pm (the hope is that this allows for travel time for most of us). That night will be up to you, but could camp in to try out your systems. Evening program will hopefully involve dinner together and time with the local community (Bob is working hard on this but if you have great ideas from your own circles of knowing please contact us).

August 6th we will meet our canoes/paddles/pfds and drive approximately 3.5 hours as a group to Minto (which means leaving personal vehicles where the gathering begins) —on the banks of the Yukon River followed by a 4-hour paddle to camp on the site of Fort Selkirk.

From here the river moves very quickly, though without technical difficulties. As a result of many years of experience, we know that this is a very good river for folks who do not have much paddling experience and yet still an incredible place to be for those who do. We should also remember that this is really about your doctoral processes and as such we will do our best to continue to bring that to the centre of our time together. We can provide a paddling primer at the start and our group should do fine by spreading paddling experience amongst those who have had less opportunity. While not technically too difficult, all Yukon rivers require care—we will, at times, be a long way from help. 

August 7th stay another night at Selkirk

… this will allow us to get into our routines and begin presentations for the floating conference. Bob is in the process of reaching out to a former student who is a member of Selkirk Nation, and the members responsible for conducting tours and greetings at the Ft. Selkirk site, but again if you have ideas/connections please feel free to add them to the mix.

August 8th … likely stay in the vicinity of Selwyn Station

August 9th … likely stay in the vicinity of  Kirkman Creek

August 10th … likely stay in the vicinity of Stewart River

August 11th … likely stay in the vicinity of Ancient Voices (here too Bob is in conversation with the Kormendy family about possibly staying at the site formerly known as Ancient Voices)

August 12th … we will begin to close the course up on the river and then do the short paddle into Dawson.  Now as Bob continues discussions the rest of this day might be flexed with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in depending on how the convesations in progress and those to come play out.  Again help/guidance is great. The hope is that you can all be heading home, getting showers, having that fresh food you have been missing, whatever you are ready for before dinner … once we have returned the canoes and equipment. If we started in Dawson then that is easy, if we started in Whitehorse then it might mean one more long ride together in a van pulling canoes. 

Meeting Location:

Whitehorse @ 2pm on August 5th.  Location to be determined


Overall Vision for the Trip (this includes the course requirements):

In our conversations between ourselves and with the other faculty we realized that we wanted to focus on two things. First, offering up some of the range of literature and practices that exist (both Indigenous and non) around Land, place, nature-based education so you might get a sense of the “field” as it exists. However, more importantly we want to have the opportunity to actually spend time on, with, in, through, and for the place where we will travel. Without that immersion and developing relationship with place, the rest tends to be just so much whistling in the wind. That is, it is hard to understand land-based education in the abstract confines of a classroom.

The second piece we wanted to focus on was you, your work, and this journey that is your doctoral program. Please note: that if your work connects to Land and place great … but we recognize that it might not and that is alright too … the lovely thing about the river is that even if you are working on some seemingly disparate project, the journey, the place, and all these good folks can still be influential. The ideas, experiences, feelings, and imaginaries that arise will help and challenge whatever your work is, and help you to better understand the work of others.

Thus, with those two foci in mind we have decided to shape the course as a kind of floating colloquium. Each of you will have about 60-90 minutes to give a talk, share an experience, engage us in some activities, drop some ideas on us that you are wrestling with, whatever you choose. We know this sounds like a long time but once you start we know you are going to find it flies by. Please notice the “wrestling with” part. Part of the doctoral journey tends to involve a turn to one’s own work while, at the same time, finding ways to hold community and share ideas such that we all benefit from the wisdom of others. 

We think good scholarship (and good teaching and learning for that matter) needs the care and critical attention of others. One dimension of this trip lies in the opportunity to really begin to focus on the next steps of your doctoral journey. To deepen your sense of your own ideas, commitments, and even the field/area in which you are positioning yourself. It is also a chance to move your proposal to the next stage and to really begin to get a hold of what you do know, who your “peeps” are—the people, researchers, Elders, other scholars, literature who are part of your area of interest—who speak to you in good and challenging ways. And it can be an opportunity to reflect on what you still need to be thinking about.  And it is that later question that brings back to the ideas you (and your field) are wrestling with.

We will organize the “whens” for the presentations along the river as we go but if you have a particular place (yes think about that) that might lend itself to your work/sharing/presentation/sticky questions then let us know and we will make sure to make that happen. Also, if there is a reading/video/talk/blog/pod-cast/case-study/example you want folks to look at before that is totally fine (good even. Keep it fairly short and let us try and share them at least a month before the trip. And, if you have questions or want to run ideas past us that is totally good too.  Happy to help. And don’t be shy if you are wanting to push the envelope (or whatever the restrictive space is you think exists) a bit or a lot. We figure the world of education needs serious pushing.




Part #1: Small Group Projects. We are asking that you arrange yourselves into two equal sized groups (which makes about 5/group).  We suggest mixing the levels of outdoor experience betwixt and between you. These groups forthwith will be named: mostly sessile and mostly mobile (we will explain why these names below in section D) and they will be your eating, camping, back-country travel, safety, and kinfolk groups.

 A) Food/Gear:
Each of these two groups will operate as the planning/arranging/organizing/care center.  Pretend it is just your group going out into the back-country which means you need to have everything you would need for the 7 days on trail for a group your size.  Amongst the 5 of you, you will menu plan for the trip (think about breakfast Sunday through to breakfast the next Saturday). You will also organize your group gear for the trip (see the attached trip plan and gear list information sheet). Again, think about this as your group going on the river together and making sure you have everything you need in the group to be safe and comfortable (We have attached a short suggested list with some hints about layering and packing. Remember, as you plan and coordinate with everyone about things like weather (it can change and, as you know, get cold and wet), first aid, safety, and the beings (bears and bugs included) that might be interested in you and your stuff).

B) Emergency Action Plan: Each group will send their group’s Emergency Action Plan by June 30th at 5pm (earlier is better!).  The purpose of this plan is to give everyone some practice putting these things together. They are becoming more standard in public education (they have long been required in outdoor programs) and help us to think through as many contingencies as possible. They also can help parents/caregivers to better understand that we know what we are doing and they do make a difference in a court of law.  Thus, in this plan you should include: group information, medical information, emergency phone numbers, and an action plan in case of an emergency (this might be a layered plan depending upon the level of the emergency).  These action plans vary but usually also include the phone numbers, when to contact, and access points for hospitals, ambulance, fire, search and rescue, police, etc.  We advise you to seek out rich examples on the internet and to bear in mind the actual paperwork that your school/school district might require. And, here are some SFU examples (but seek out others as well!) … Risk Assessment Tool (attached) and Non-Classroom Activities. We also share our plan with all of you once it has been approved as a resource.

Guide: SFU calls these “field activities” (might be a rich dialogue for us around the fire one night): https://www.sfu.ca/srs/work-research-safety/research-safety/field-activities.html (this site includes the guidelines (https://www.sfu.ca/content/dam/sfu/srs/work-research-safety/research-safety/fieldresearch/2021.07.05%20SFU%20Field%20Activity%20Safety%20Guidelines.pdf) and a blank template)

Safety and Risk Services: https://www.sfu.ca/srs/contact.html

And ... from WorkSafe BC: https://www.sfu.ca/earth- sciences/links/external/Articulation/Site%20Body/Sharing/Field%20Trip%20Liability/RiskManagementforOutdoorPrograms-Admin-Inst.pdf

C) Local Operating Procedures/Protocols: Also due June 30th at 5pm (or earlier!) this paperwork is intended as a description of what might be encountered in this specific backcountry (e.g. hazards, food preparation, water collecting, travel issues, etc.) and how you as a group will deal with them.  These are not so much meant to be hard and fast rules that cover every possible situation but they should give an overview of how you are thinking about responding to the most likely issues and provide a kind of ethos for safety, etiquette, and ways of being in the back-country for your group.  Again the internet, SFU, and your school districts will have myriad examples for you to draw from.  If done well these can become operating documents for future use. 

D) Knowledge of 15-20 of your group’s namesake kinfolk category: Ok, back to these group names of mostly sessile and mostly mobile. The idea is that each member of your group will become an “expert” in (expand their relationship with) three of your namesake’s local representatives.  Now we were going to divide you into flora and fauna but there are some problems with that. First it leaves out all kinds of key kinfolk (e.g. the river, the sun, the rocks). Second, it creates a binary that many beings actively ignore and it tends to lead to hierarchies where say the moose seems more important than the lichen. And third, well we don’t have one but maybe you do. So, we are offering mostly sessile and mostly mobile as another option but feel free to name your kinfolk as you so please. The point is that each of you will select 3 local relatives say Billberry, Lupine, Granite (remember we will spend our time on the Yukon River so unlikely we will encounter Giraffe or Platypus (although that would be cool!)). And check with the rest of your group so that all of you have 3 kin and that you aren’t all doing the same ones.  Once you have your three then your job is to build up your relationship with them and create a two page document (feel free to be creative) for each that includes some of what you have learned.  This might include: pictures from time spent in their company, discovering and writing down various names (Indigenous, Latin, local, preferred), exploring and documenting uses/gifts they offer (medicinal, food, structural, etc.), sharing stories that are told about them, scientific categories (relatives, history, order/genus/species), current state/conditions they tend to live, where they can be found, life cycle, etc.  Just anything you think others might be interested to discover about your chosen kinfolk.  Now, we are going to share these two page “guide book” creations with everyone before we head out.  That way everyone will get 33 entries in their new Yukon River Kinfolk Guide Book!  And then on trail your job will be notice and share what you have learned with others in a somewhat spontaneous (even emergent) manner. Say one of your kinfolk was Lupine and we happen to camp next to a field of them … what a great chance to draw us together and spend a few minutes introducing your key kinfolk to everyone. There is pretty good evidence that most of us can identify and name way more corporate logos then we can living things that live around us … we are going to change that a bit!  And have some fun … don’t stress on this one.

Note: the goal of sections B & C is to give you experience in thinking through this process so it comes readily when you have to do it for your institutions/situations.  Make them work well for you. 

Step #2: Individual Preparatory Work for the course …

This is your chosen 60-90 minuteish presentation/workshop/experience. It is yours to do with as you wish remembering that this is chance to share ideas and to get help in whatever form is useful to you. A great thing that does happen on this kind of trip is that presentations often connect/overlap/speak to each other in interesting and rich ways.  And we get to keep on talking about them cause we don’t all disappear to another classroom, meeting or something else.  Take your time, enjoy the process, and be creative.  

Step #3: Evening Dialogues …

One last course component that we are proposing is a series of evening dialogues—campfire time! Here, we will gather after having eaten, rested, and had a good day to dialogue amongst ourselves on some topic/idea/challenge that we as a group think really needs further chewing on.  We are naming them dialogues because that is the format that we think aligns itself best with this kind of work.  This is also possibly about doing scholarship differently. That is, we are attempting to create the space and means for doing our work in ways that honour both the contributions from work undertaken withing this group, and contributions to our work from the  place itself.

The first evening we will offer a quick overview of dialogue as we have come to understand and encounter it.  At the same time we recognize that there are many ways—some more or less just—to do dialogue and that all of you have skills and experiences to add. The hope is that this will open up space for creating shared “ground-rules”, good stories, rich conversations, dynamite thinking, and some good laughs. We think/know the content will come from our own experiences on the river, your presentations, our histories, the readings, our encounters with the more-than-human, the asks of the place and all-our-relations, etc. At this point we think it might be great to have different pairs (groups of three) take turns facilitating these coming togethers.

Finally, we are thinking to offer a short list of shared reading for us all to do together so there are some ideas bubbling around already as we head out. We have chosen some that we ourselves are still thinking through and wondering about … cause that is how we keep on growing as scholars/researchers/teachers/people.



  1. Jickling, B., S. Blenkinsop, N. Timmerman, & M. Sitka-Sage. 2018. Wild Pedagogies: Touchstones for Re-negotiating Education and the Environment in the Anthropocene. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave-MacMillan. (Note: this text is available online in the SFU library so no need to purchase)
  2. Kawagley, A. O., & R. Bernhardt. (1998). Education Indigenous to Place: Western science meets Native Reality. http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/curriculum/Articles/BarnhardtKawagley/EIP.html
  3. Rasmussen D., & Akulukjuk, T. (2009). My father was told to talk to the environment first before anything else. Mckenzie, M., Hart, P., Bai, H. & Bob Jickling (Eds.), Fields of Green. New Jersey: Hampton Press.
  4. Sheridan, J. & Longboat, D. 2006. The Haudenosaunee imagination and the ecology of the sacred. Space and Culture 9(4), November, 365-381.
  5. Simpson. (2014). Land as Pedagogy: Nishnabeeg intelligence and rebellious transformation. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society, 3 (3), pp. 1-25. https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/article/view/22170/17985

(This online lecture might help as a support/addition as she works through similar material: https://www.leannesimpson.ca/talk)

  1. Beeman, C. (2001). Wilding liability in education: Introducing the concept of wide risk as counterpoint to narrow-risk-driven educative practice. Policy futures in Education, 19(3). https://doi.org/10.1177/147821032097809
  2. Lewthwaite, B., Owen, T., & Doiron, A. (2015). Curriculum Change and Self-Governing Agreements: A Yukon First Nation Case Study. International Journal of Multicultural Education. 17(3), 37-55.


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